Players the Minnesota Twins Should Look at the Rest of 2017

benjaminchase
LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 23: 2015 World Series bats of Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets lay on a rack ready to be shipped out at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory on October 23, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 23: 2015 World Series bats of Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets lay on a rack ready to be shipped out at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory on October 23, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Dereck Rodriguez, RHP

Dereck Rodriguez is probably best known for having a Hall of Fame father, catcher Ivan Rodriguez, recently inducted to the Hall. The Minnesota Twins drafted Dereck out of high school in the 6th round of the 2011 draft as an outfielder. He spent two seasons playing outfield, but he struggled to make contact, striking out in roughly 1/3 of his plate appearances.

Blessed with a tremendous throwing arm, the Twins converted Rodriguez to the mound in 2014, initially working him as a reliever as he built up arm strength, but finding that he was also blessed with excellent control of his pitches.

In 2015, his first full season starting on the mound, he jumped all the way to high-A, and in 2016, he returned there, though he struggled with seeing his stuff get hit around quite a bit at Cedar Rapids in 2016 before he was promoted.

This season, Rodriguez opened with high-A and he performed tremendously well before a promotion to the Chattanooga rotation, where he’s continued to throw well. Rodriguez’s approach is that of a power pitcher, pounding the zone with a mid-90s fastball and change as his two best pitches, with a slider and cutter that work well off of those to get weak contact.

Rodriguez has worked to distinguish his slider from his cutter to give him four distinct looks that would allow him to work as a starter, but his best future for the Twins could be as a power reliever out of the bullpen. Regardless of his future major league role, he’ll be eligible to be a minor league free agent this offseason, so he is a guy who would be wise to get some views on, even if it’s out of the bullpen.

Next: Chattanooga Rotation

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